Storm interrupts camping trip for family with Canora ties

Mark Mazur and his family have long enjoyed their camping trips to Duck Mountain Provincial Park, but this year’s outing came to an unexpected and abrupt end due to a powerful storm.

Mazur, his wife Tracey, their son Owen (14) and daughter Zoey (12) arrived at the park on July 13 from their home in Regina, and were pleased to discover that they were once again going to be able to enjoy their favourite campsite.

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Mark, born and raised in Canora, the son of Ernie and Julie Mazur, said the campsite has been a favourite of the couple’s since before they were married.

“Tracey and I have been enjoying it since we were dating,” he said. “It’s a raised campsite which overlooks the lake through the trees. In recent years our family has been camping there about once a year.”

Mark said they had pulled into the campsite at around 2 p.m. and immediately went about setting up the camper. With that job out of the way, he got busy chopping firewood and then took a break.

“We were enjoying a drink around the picnic table,” he recalled. “At almost exactly 5 p.m., our friend and neighbour at the campground, George Keewatin, came running by and shouted ‘Big storm coming, look out!” so we figured we’d get ready for some wind and maybe a bit of rain.”

The Mazur family and their new puppy Luna headed inside the camper as the sky got darker, the wind picked up and the rain began. It didn’t take long until hail came down, and by then the wind had reached a dangerous velocity.

“We were all getting concerned and our daughter was really frightened,” he said. “A large tree came down, hit our truck and bounced on to the camper. It hit the corner of the camper, slid down and flattened the canvas where our son had been sitting only a few minutes earlier. We were so thankful that he moved. No one was injured, which is obviously the most important thing.”

The camper, a hard shell unit with pop out canvas tent ends, was pretty much destroyed and likely totalled, said Mark.

“When we went back to the campsite the next day, the hitch had been pushed down into the ground about three feet. But we managed tow the camper back to Canora.”

The Mazur family was extremely appreciative of the support they received from the other campers at the park.

“George came back with his chainsaw and did a great job in getting the tree off the camper and the truck,” said a grateful Mark. “Others helped move trees and branches that were in the way. Many stopped by just to make sure that none of us were hurt.”

The Mazur family experienced one of the most severe incidents of the storm, which lasted about 15 minutes, but they later discovered that damage was quite widespread.

“There was a boat with a tree on top of it at Pickerel Point,” reported Mark. “It seemed like about every third cabin at the park had a tree on the roof. Numerous tents were flattened. Campground staff initially were prevented from driving around to assist campers and assess the damage because of all the trees on the roads. But thankfully, no one was injured that we are aware of.”

Even though they lived through a scary experience, the Mazur family members are determined to visit their favourite campsite at their favourite campground again next year.

“We’ve been telling our kids, ‘Look at all the people who stopped by to help us, moving logs or asking if we were OK,’” said Mark. “And besides, now we’ve got even more stories to tell about our favourite campsite.”